Thursday, 13 December 2012

With praise and thanksgiving!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes 5:16-18
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:4-7
God wants us to “rejoice always”, “give thanks in all circumstances” and “with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”.  It sounds so simple, but when we find ourselves in a desperate place of hopelessness, sadness or discouragement the last thing we feel like is praising and thanking God. Especially if you have been waiting and waiting for God to change your situation, to provide or to restore and you are not seeing any change.
I don’t know about you, but I have found this to be very challenging over the years. I don’t like pretending and I don’t like thanking and praising God in a fake way just because I’m supposed to. I want to thank Him from my heart in truth and love, but still the Bible tells me to “rejoice always” and “with thanksgiving”. So how do I do this without being fake?
My search has led me to the word “faith” and the definition of faith. Faith is knowing that you already have what you have asked for and faith comes from hearing the Bible. I looked for scriptures in the Bible to strengthen my faith and I started from there. I would find verses that tell me who God is and that He is faithful and I then thank Him because He is faithful, kind, gracious and in control. I thank Him for who He is and praise Him because He is God.
Then I look at scriptures which directly relate to my situation and I thank God for what He has already promised me. I allow them to give me hope and by the Spirit my faith grows and I start climbing the mountain, even if it is just with a small thanks. As we build our foundation on God and on who He is, the mountain becomes smaller and we become taller and we reach a point where we can look over the mountain and receive vision. We see God’s plans fulfilled and our needs met and we receive the peace of God which transcends all understanding.
Our mountain has not yet been moved but, we have already received the victory and we can walk out the last stretch with peace and joy, thanking Him for what we are about to receive. God knows that praise and thanksgiving focus our attention on Him and not on our circumstances, break the chains of despair and give us strength to persevere to the end.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.” Acts 16:25-26
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Rom 8:38

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